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GUNS Magazine September 2010 - Page 26
This mount improves accuracy, too. he Mini-14 was an immediate hit when Ruger announced it in T the mid 1970s. It was strong, reliable, well made, durable and cost a lot less than other .223 semi-autos of the era. The early Minis had their faults. There was no provision for mounting optical sights. Many of them, to put it charitably, were not very accurate. The rifle shown here is an early 180-series, made in 1976 (marked “Made in the 200th year of American Liberty”). Using the iron sights about the best 100-yard groups I get with this rifle are around 6". And that’s on a good day, with good ammunition. With some ammunition brands it’s doing well to get 8" groups. The problem is not quality control but the combination of a light barrel and an operating rod system. As expanding powder gases pass the gas block and start the operating rod in motion it gives the barrel a tweak, before the bullet has exited. The result is inconsistent barrel vibration and reduced accuracy. One reason AR-15 design rifles are famous for accuracy is the direct gas impingement operating system makes it easy to float the barrel. Current Mini 14s using a stiffer, more rigid barrel and provide considerably better accuracy than early models. Still, owners of older models, if they were dissatisfied with the accuracy, had no choice but to rebarrel or trade in for a new model. Enter the Mini Scout Mount from Amega Mounts. Initially I was interested mainly in being able to fit optical sights, lights and lasers. Doug Green, owner of Amega Mounts, advised they had consistently found better accuracy after fitting the mount on Mini 14s. The mount, he said, stiffens the barrel considerably, making it more rigid and less affected by the action of the operating rod. Before installing the mount I fired several 100-yard groups with the stock rifle, using Black Hills ammunition loaded with 50-grain Hornady V-Max bullets. This ammunition has provided exceptional accuracy in every rifle in which I’ve tried it. Groups were in the 6" to 8" range I’ve come to expect from this rifle. Installing the Amega mount was simple and straightforward. The process is clearly described in the instructions provided with the mount, so I won’t repeat them here. To sum up, fieldstrip the rifle; remove the wooden handguard; remove the four screws holding the upper and lower gas block components; then install the Amega mount on top of the barrel, securing it to the lower gas block using the original screws. A steel band goes around the bottom of the barrel a few inches back from the gas block and attaches to the Amega mount. When all the screws are tightened the Amega mount acts as a truss support to increase barrel rigidity. The top of the mount is a Picatinny-style rail mount, integral with the mount. A couple of points I like: one is the obvious quality of the Amega mount. It is very well made and finished, and it fit the rifle perfectly with no fuss or bother. Construction material is aluminum alloy, in this case with a black anodized finish. It has the look and feel of a quality component. Another positive, the Amega mount requires no permanent alteration to the rifle. Some collectors will pay a premium for a “200th year” model, and I didn’t want to affect its excellent condition. Reinstalling the upper gas block and handguard to restore the rifle to original condition would take just minutes. aMeGa MiNi-14 SCOPe MOUNT Better Accuracy At the range I shot it again with the iron sights (the mount is grooved to not impede the iron sight picture). Groups shrank to about half the initial size, to around 4". I then installed a Leupold Scout Scope using Zeiss- The Mini Scout Mount from Amega replaces the original wooden upper handguard. The scope is a Leupold Scout Scope in Warne rings. A white light/laser aiming device from Insight Systems is attached as well. It’s a useful accessory for law enforcement or home-defense, but leave it at home while hunting. 26 WWW.GUNSMAGAZINE.COM • SEPTEMBER 2010